Duopoly Watch: “Observations on the 2nd Repub. ‘Debate’”

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Special to The Greanville Post | Commentary No. 18: Commentary No. 18: “Observations on the 2nd Repub. ‘Debate’

Well, I said to myself, just about every other political commentator has chimed in on this one.  And I keep saying, to myself and others, that I’m not going to do this this time around.  But the pickings are so rich that I cannot resist. 

Chris Christie illustrated the Repubs’ capability for using the results of their policies and then blaming them on Obama.  He talked about the despair of the 55 y.o. unemployed construction worker — who would have plenty of work if the Repubs. had even modestly funded a national infrastructure repair and infrastructure construction/reconstruction program that Obama proposed.  Christie then highlighted his experience as U.S. Attorney — to equip him as President to go after Hillary Clinton, especially on the criminal side. Finally, he would maintain the totally failed “Drug War.”  Over the 45 years since Nixon launched it, it has totally unaffected the use of the targeted drugs while costing an estimated $2 trillion.  (See my book forthcoming next spring from TGP’s Punto Press entitled Ending the Drug War; Solving the Drug Problem.) Some manager he.

Carly Fiorina would spend much more money on the VA.  One wonders how much of the $1.4 billion VA increase requested by President Obama that the Repubs. in Congress are refusing to fund Fiorina would restore and just how she would manage that trick as President.  She did allow that she would save money by reforming the U.S. Tax Code from 70,000 pp. down to 3 and firing bunches of IRS employees.  Dunno if that would save $1.4 billion.  She would vastly expand the military — being very specific about such things as brigades and ships — without saying how she would pay for it. Nor did she say in detail what the mission would be, except to “stand up to Putin” (with whom she would refuse to talk).  She would do all of this, of course, while massively cutting the debt and deficit.  She explained away her failure at HP that got her fired and tanked the stock by saying “some Board members supported me.”

Fiorina: GOP in skirts—Disgraceful warmongering and voodoo economics.
Fiorina: GOP in skirts—Disgraceful Pentagon pandering and tormented economics. Her current spike in the polls may prove just a flash in the pan.

JEB told us how his brother kept the country safe.  Well, just about everybody on our side of the political divide, that is the divide between those who live in the world of real history and those who live in the Repub. alternate universe, has noted that “W” did not become President on Sept. 12, 2001.  He was actually the President throughout the summer of 2001 when those warnings of imminent terrorist attack(s) kept coming.  JEB also noted that as Governor he served the people of FL, not the special interests (except when those special interests just happened to be the real estate developer class in Florida, who built their very own real estate bubble that actually started collapsing in 2007, just at about the time that JEB left office).

“Speaking of the Kochs, one wonders where there will go with their money.  My guess is to the quiet man on the set, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio.  He is truly far-right, but in that group he appears to be “reasonable.”

Lindsey Graham wants to send 50,000 troops to Syria, but like Fiorina he shared with us neither a mission plan nor a plan for paying for the enterprise.  One does have to give the Senator credit however, for coming down hard on Trump for his wordless nod to the man who clearly stated that “Obama [was] a Muslim.”  “Not factual.”  Well, of course it is not factual.  But of course too the real answer is “so what[?]” to the contrary notwithstanding Pastor, I mean Dr., Ben Carson (whose reading the Constitution apparently never took him to the “no religious test” section of Article VI).

Speaking of Carson, apparently he was a fine and cutting-edge pediatric neurosurgeon, being the first to successfully separate the brains of a pair of Siamese twins, and being chief of the service at Johns Hopkins for quite some time.  But his wiggling around when Trump made his off-the-wall statement about vaccination and autism led one to believe that pediatrician or not he has not kept up with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation on the practice.  As for his main attraction in Iowa, his Dominionism, it is highly unlikely that any moderator or interviewer will ever ask him, or Huckabee or Santorum or Cruz or Rubio, about it.  (Carson did later backtrack on the separation of church and state, coming out as a strong supporter of the Constitutional requirement for it.  But one has to wonder a) if he recognizes just how inconsistent he has been on the issue, and b) how that will go down with his Dominionist supporters in Iowa.)

Sen. Rubio has a nice explanation for his frequent absences from the Senate: it’s more important to be running for President.

Former New York State Governor Pataki?  One wonders why he is there (except to somehow qualify himself for a cabinet post).

Bobby Jindal is continually talking about criminalizing abortion (although of course he doesn’t use that term).  Of course, everyone up there wants to do that too (moderator question, please) but Jindal makes a special point of it, as if that were the most important issue on the nation’s agenda.   

Mike Huckabee was invisible. Again.  His Iowa poll numbers are related to his Dominionism.

Donald Trump (can’t resist.  Sorry.)  Last week was name calling week (although not at the debate).  The Club for Growth was crazy, Karl Rove was useless.  One wonders what he would call Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Cameron, President Xi Jinping, President Putin, or President Hollande when they called him to tell him that they were not going to enter into any renegotiation with Iran.  I haven’t heard Trump take a position on the “Drug War,” but of course he is a major promoter of gambling, just as much of a life/family destroyer as the use of any drug, legal or not.   And of course he never seems to tell us in detail just what the present “American” (that is U.S.) defects are (except that whatever they are is all the undocumented immigrants’ fault), what “America” needs to be made “great” at again, and just how he plans to do that and pay for it.  But nobody asks him either.

They all talked about the US as if it were in a Depression.   Now, readers of my columns know that I am not a fan of President Obama. But, unemployment continues to drop (and I know the problems with the counting), the GDP remains decent, and many of the major problems domestically arise from Repub. policies: no infra-structure spending, no National Health Insurance, the continuing rich-poor gap widening, the export of capital, drug war/massive incarceration, police violence, and so on and so forth.  But as I said above, and it is worth repeating, the Repubs. have a genius at creating/not-solving problems and then blaming them on the President (while they also have a President who has not fought back much [although lately his game has been picking up a bit]).

Of the remaining ones, there was Ron Paul, a real outlier who, if he were not a total contra-libertarian on abortion rights, could be a Democrat.  He is totally into the Tenth amendment.  Too bad he isn’t equally into the Ninth (which Robert Bork, remember him [?] once labelled an “ink blot on the Constitution”).  Ted Cruz is apparently always angry, about everything, which is probably why he has that crooked grin permanently implanted on his face. 

Of Scott Walker, in the Sept. 17, 2015 New York Times columnist Gail Collins noted that he “repeated his previous debate trick of vanishing entirely into the scenery.”  And now he has vanished from the race.  I guess the Koch Brothers pulled the plug on him. 

And finally, speaking of the Kochs, one wonders where there will go with their money.  My guess is to the quiet man on the set, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio.  He is truly far-right, but in that group he appears to be “reasonable.” He is still my pick for the Repub. nomination, with Fiorina for Vice.  And I think that after due consideration, the Kochs will go there too.

As for the TDW aspects of this one, we can start with one of the most important of the underlying issues for many of the Repub. candidates: Dominionism.  The Dems. will never go there.


JonasSteveSenior Editor, Politics, Steven Jonas, MD, is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books.  In addition to being Senior Editor, Politics, for The Greanville Post, he is: a Contributor for American Politics to The Planetary Movement (http://www.planetarymovement.org/); a “Trusted Author” for Op-Ed News.com; a contributor to the “Writing for Godot” section of Reader Supported News; and a contributor to From The G-Man. He is the Editorial Director and a Contributing Author for TPJmagazine.us.  Further, he is an occasional Contributor to TheHarderStuff newsletter, BuzzFlash Commentary, and Dandelion Salad.

Dr. Jonas’ latest book is The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022: A Futuristic Novel, Brewster, NY, Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, (http://www.puntopress.com/jonas-the-15-solution-hits-main-distribution/), and available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=The+15%25+Solution).




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5 thoughts on “Duopoly Watch: “Observations on the 2nd Repub. ‘Debate’”

  1. I think that Dr. Jonah, sorry that, I meant Dr. Jonas has exhibited a Freudian Slip — one might wish it were RON Paul running for president rather than RAND Paul, who turns out to be quite the apologist for U.S. imperialism. The latter definitely a reason to feel down in the mouth…

    Also, I would like to point out this little gem about Ben Carson, former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins.


    Now, as many will know, Johns Hopkins was one of the most important leaders in the birth of modern, scientific medicine near the turn of the 20th century, with the leadership of Osler, Welch, Halsted, Kelly, Cushing (often called the “father of modern neurosurgery”) and others.

    I find Ben Carson’s antiscientific ideology about evolution disturbing, but of course, this does not correlate with his skills as a neurosurgeon. In fact, perhaps Dr. Carson is just channeling Dr. Kelly:


    “Osler brought Kelly (1858-1943), a skillful gynecological surgeon, into the fold in 1889 from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. Kelly was a reptile collector and a Bible-thumping fundamentalist Christian who read the good book in the original Greek and Hebrew and called a prayer meeting before every operation.

    Kelly was only 31 when Hopkins hired him, and he gave his house staff, the gynecology residents, great responsibilities, much as Osler did. Kelly is credited with establishing gynecology as a true specialty; he concentrated mainly on new surgical approaches to women’s diseases and to understanding underlying pathology. He invented numerous medical devices, including a urinary cystoscope. When radium was discovered, Kelly was among the first to try it for cancer treatment (he is said to have gotten a sample straight from Marie Curie), and he founded the privately owned Kelly Clinic in Baltimore, once one of the country’s leading centers for radiation therapy. He introduced the use of absorbable sutures to Hopkins, and was partly responsible for bringing the German artist Max Broedel, the father of medical illustration, to Baltimore. Broedel later headed the nation’s first Department of Art as Applied to Medicine, at Hopkins.”

    Kelly’s home crawled with children – he and his wife had nine – and exotic varieties of snakes, and he was recognized as an expert among amateur herpetologists. Social reform attracted his attention as well; Kelly battled energetically for election reforms, often standing guard at the polls to keep people from voting two and three times. He fought organized prostitution and worked diligently to help rehabilitate “ladies of the evening.” He was an avid Bible quoter who frequently locked horns with the irreverent Baltimore columnist H.L. Mencken, who had this to say about his energetic “old sparring partner” in 1921, when Kelly was 63:

    “Before cock-crow in the morning he has got out of bed, held a song and praise service, read two or three chapters in his Greek Old Testament, sung a couple of hymns, cut off six or eight legs, pulled out a pint of tonsils and eyeballs, relieved a dozen patients of their appendices, filled the gallstone keg in the corner, pronounced the benediction, washed up, filled his pockets with tracts, got into a high-speed automobile with the Rev. Dr. W.W. Davis and started off at 50 miles an hour to raid a gambling house and close the red-light district at Emory Grove, Maryland.”

    But, Mencken admitted (writing under a pseudonym), “put a knife in his hand, and he is at once master of the situation, and if surgery can help the patient, the patient will be helped.””

  2. This fellow Kely sounds like a piece of work! Apparently, talented to a fault, he was also brimming with contradictions? The question is, is Dr Carson that gifted? Because I suppose only extremely gifted people can be forgiven their otherwise disabling intellelctual defects.

    It is sad and alarming that a gresat power like the US should have such horrendous lineup for presidential aspirants. And even though two are physicians—Paul and Carson—one is a sworn creationist, and the other a firm believer in the crackpottery of libertarianism!

  3. It is a sad comedy. Robert Rendo who writes at the Diane ravitch blog ( as I do) offers this
    “You know, I watched the debates, and they had a veritable tone and texture of something I could not quite put my finger on, but now I finally have.
    I finally see that the debates took on the tenor of a a hybrid between a reality show and American Idol, where each contestant had a swagger and self promoting, self-absorbed aura, and each judge was snarky and “gotcha” instead of provocative and fact finding. Each judge would lunch a torpedo at the contestant and the contestant would launch a bigger one back to the judge and/or to an opponent.
    There were smirks, grins, chuckles, and sarcastic rolling of the eyes. There was pivoting of the head side to side to indicate disapproval and raised eyebrows to show defensiveness.
    There were myriad retorts from the Mr. cheap-shot-and-shiny-packaged Moliere himself, Donald Trump, and there were startling confessions from Scott Walker that put women in a metaphorical state of being buried up to the neck and stoned. This was indicated unabashedly by the ultra-chauvinistic Walker, whose own wife he would seemingly have die in order to give birth to a baby that would put her life at grave risk. Or, heaven forbid, if Walker’s wife were brutally raped and had horrible memories and neurosis from the experience, Walker, according to his own principles, would still make her give birth to the ensuing and permanent reminder.
    Walker said at one point before these debates that he is prepared to sign into law a 20-week abortion ban without any exceptions for victims of rape or incest, arguing that women are concerned with those issues “in the initial months” of pregnancy. I guess he would know since he is a man. Walker is the picture-perfect poster boy for the mediocrity American culture has raised as its highest level of expression: moronic, simple minded, very well funded, political connected, masterfully deceptive, and vested in state authority.
    My point is that these candidates are frightening, incompetent, narcissistic, oligarchical, and just plain off-the-wall-crazy.
    Between Rand Paul proudly declaring that the GOP has worked hard for over a decade to oppose a single payer healthcare system and Donald trump asserting to Cher that he has no rug atop his head, that “It’s the real thing, and that he pledges not to discuss her numerous unsuccessful plastic surgeries, I could not help but think to that this debate was an ultimate metaphor for the the disconnect between the average American person and the plutocrats who live and work in an Super PAC tower.
    And there was nothing amusing about the debates, even if they read like a snarky stand up comedy competition.
    There are tens of millions of people in this country who are suffering horribly.
    People are saddled with higher education debt, never able to buy a home, sick and dying as a result of lack of access to Obamacare in which the compulsory insurance policies do not cover a condition or the premiums have shot up, stuck with their kids in once-excellent public schools that have been starved of legitimate funding and reduced to a skeletal staff, and dumbed down by the paucity of real journalism, that is now controlled by corporate agendas and bought media. This list is much longer, but I have little time to write in these next few days.
    The GOP debate had little dignity and even less truth to it. These debaters are bonafide looney, dangerous, and disconnected, no differently than had been Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, who lived isolated and opulent lives in grand palaces and who eventually faced a fate our current politicians might one day face, according to Picketty.
    How could I not vote for Sanders?”

  4. This nation is fed reality shows as DRAMA! It is the modern version of ‘bread & circuses’ (with the ‘bread’ being chips consumed while the ignorant masses veg out.
    So, there is this one from the NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/27/opinion/donald-trump-our-reality-tv-candidate.html?emc=edit_ty_20150928&nl=opinion&nlid=50637717&_r=0

    “Donald Trump is the presidential candidate that reality TV made. Reality television has always been fixated on the trappings of wealth; the rich for a lot of reasons — they live out our aspirations, and their mistakes and foibles shrink the gulf between their lives and ours. In a sense, Mr. Trump’s immersion in the medium of reality TV normalizes his wealth. He connects with an audience for whom he represents the sort of rich guy they would be if they had the money.That’s because reality shows thrive on high stakes, and there’s nothing higher than leadership of the No. 1 country in the world. “

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